Steps to Networking – Step 8: Manipulation

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 1st, 2010

STEP 8: Manipulation

Although networkers understand that everyone wants something, they resent being manipulated, used or conned. If, in the list of offenses, forgetting or being too busy to reciprocate is shoplifting, then out-and-out manipulation is murder one and often carries a life-time sentence.

When network members feel used, if they believe that you’re only out for yourself, they won’t take your calls and they certainly won’t help you. Worse yet, they’ll tell others about your deceit and once the word gets out, you’ll find yourself alone with nowhere to turn.

Networking requires a delicate balance. People who can help you can also just as easily harm you if you don’t deal with them wisely. If they feel that that the only reason you contact them is for what you can get, you’ll probably lose a friend, a good contact and your reputation. Even the most altruistic and dedicated networkers won’t continue to help those who won’t give back. And many of them will tell the world about your duplicity.

Think about your own experiences. We’ve all had “friends” who called only when they needed something. Remember what it was like when, after not hearing from him/her for the longest time, all of a sudden the phone rings and you’re being treated you like his/her closest best friend. These people are users, manipulators, takers. Hopefully by now, we’ve gotten them out of our lives.

Remember how it felt after you delivered, when the phone calls stopped and your user friend vanished. Didn’t you feel used, ripped off and abused? Would you have volunteered to help that person again and subject yourself to further pain?

Well, networks operate in a similar fashion. Just as you distanced yourself from your user friend, network members, even the most generous, will dump those who won’t give back. It’s basic self-preservation. So if you want to network, it must be reciprocal.

List below how you feel when you speak to people who make you feel like they genuinely want to help.
1. ______________________________________________________________
2. ______________________________________________________________
3. ______________________________________________________________

List below how you feel when you speak to people who make you feel like they have ulterior motives.

1. ______________________________________________________________
2. ______________________________________________________________
3. ______________________________________________________________

(Excerpted from NETWORKING MAGIC: Making Connections That Will Change Your Life By Rick Frishman and Jill Lublin With Mark Steisel)

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